Nash and Nellie Gone; Little General Takes Command
Won 58, lost 24 (second, Southwest) the Mavericks were eliminated in the Western Conference Semifinals by Phoenix; in the first round of the playoffs, Dallas overcame an 0-2 deficit to defeat Houston; the Mavericks won Game 7 over the Rockets by 40 points, the largest margin of victory in any Game 7 in NBA history; on 3/19, Don Nelson resigned and Avery Johnson was named his successor; Johnson finished the season with a 16-2 mark, including nine straight wins to close the season and was named Western Conference Coach of the Month for April; Dallas finished the season with a 29-12 road mark, the best in franchise history; Dirk Nowitzki finished third in MVP voting and became the first Maverick to be named All-NBA First team; he also became the first player to be named to the first-team who did not attend an American high school or university; the Mavericks ranked fourth in the NBA in steals, which is the highest Dallas ever ranked in that category; the Mavericks led the league in defending the 3-pointer; Devin Harris was named Western Conference Rookie of the Month for November.
GOOD HABITS ARE TOUGH TO BREAK: The Mavericks made their fifth straight appearance in the NBA Playoffs and their 11th overall. That tied for the longest streak of consecutive playoff appearances in franchise history (1984-1988). The Mavericks advanced to the Western Conference Semifinals after finishing the regular season with a 58-24 record. Dallas also celebrated its 25th season as an NBA franchise.
FILING AN EXTENSION: Dallas defeated Houston in the first round of the 2005 Playoffs despite dropping Games 1 and 2 at home. The Mavericks became the ninth team to overcome a 0-2 deficit in a seven-game series. Dallas also became just the third team to lose Games 1 and 2 at home and still go on to win the series (1969 Western Conference Semifinals: L.A. vs. San Francisco and 1994 Western Conference Semifinals: Houston vs. Phoenix).
WITH AUTHORITY:The Mavericks capped off their playoff series vs. Houston with a huge exclamation point as Dallas won by 40 points (116-76). That marked not only the biggest margin of victory for Dallas in any postseason game (previous high was 30 vs. Utah on 5/1/01), but it was also the most lopsided Game 7 in NBA Playoff history. The previous mark was 39 set by Philadelphia at St. Louis on 4/6/48 (85-46). However, there were many questionable calls made throughout the series in favor of Dallas. One infamous moment was when Tracy Mcgrady got a rebound with only seconds left on the clock and it was stolen from Michael Finley from out of bounds.
THANKS NELLIE!!!: On 3/19, prior to the game vs. Charlotte, Don Nelson resigned as head coach of the Mavericks and handed his whistle over to Avery Johnson. Nelson remains with the franchise as a consultant. Owner Mark Cuban said he envisions Nellie's role as the "Godfather" of the Mavericks. In eight seasons with Dallas, Nelson compiled a record of 339-251 (.575). On 2/13 at Seattle, he earned his 330th victory as head coach of the Mavericks, surpassing Dick Motta for the most wins by a coach in franchise history.
WHO'S ON FIRST?: On 5/18, the league announced its 2005 All-NBA teams and for the first time, a Maverick made the first unit. Dirk Nowitzki joined Tim Duncan, Shaquille O'Neal, Allen Iverson and former teammate Steve Nash as first-team selections. Nowitzki is one of just six players (Kobe Bryant, Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Tracy McGrady and O'Neal) to be named to an All-NBA team in each of the past five seasons. He became the first European player (born and raised) to be named to the All-NBA First Team. Nowitzki is also the first player in league history to be named to the first-team who did not attend an American high school or university. In addition, he finished third in the league's MVP voting.
SE7EN: The 2004-05 Mavericks finished the season with a 58-24 record and became the seventh team in franchise history to win at least 50 games. Dallas has won 50 or more games in each of the past five seasons, joining the Sacramento Kings and San Antonio Spurs as the only teams to have accomplished that feat. The 58-24 record also ranks as the second-best in team history.
ASSUMING COMMAND: On 3/19, prior to the game vs. Charlotte, the "Little General" Avery Johnson was named head coach of the Dallas Mavericks. Under Johnson, the Mavericks posted a 16-2 record and closed the regular season with a nine-game winning streak. Johnson was named Western Conference Coach of the Month for April.
HOME IS WHERE THE HEARTACHE WAS: The Mavericks lost 12 games at home in 2004-05 (29-12 mark) after going a franchise-best (and NBA-best) 36-5 at American Airlines Center in 2003-04. They also lost more home games than they did in either 2002-03 (33-8 mark) or 2001-02 (30-11 mark). The Mavericks finished the season with a nine-game winning streak at home, which tied for the sixth longest streak in team history.
BUNCH OF SELLOUTS: The Mavericks have sold out 153 consecutive home games (121-32 record). The streak started on 12/15/02. Dallas has sold out an additional 24 playoff and six preseason games during that same stretch. Dallas sold out all 41 regular season home games for the third straight season. Since moving into American Airlines Center (2001-02 season), the Mavericks have posted a home mark of 128-36 (.780). The Mavericks season opening win vs. Sacramento on 11/2 marked their 100th victory at American Airlines Center.
WELL TRAVELED: On 2/15 at Golden State, Dallas won its 17th road game of the season (17-7 mark) after going 16-25 (.390) away from home in 2003-04. The Mavericks were 79-44 (.642) on the road from 2000-01 through 2002-03. The Mavericks won six in a row on the road from 2/6 through 2/23, which was the fourth longest road-winning streak in team history. Dallas finished the season 29-12 away from home, which was the best road mark in the history of the franchise.
MARCH SHOWERS BROUGHT APRIL FLOWERS: After sliding a bit in March (10-6 mark), the Mavericks went 10-1 in April. That marked the most wins and the highest winning percentage any Dallas team has had in the month of April. The Mavericks were also 23-8 after the All-Star break, which marked the best winning percentage of any Maverick team post All-Star break. In addition, the Mavericks were 30-11 over their final 41 games, which marked the best second-half record of any team in franchise history.
MAGNIFICENT MISSING SEVEN: Maverick fans had to wonder if their team's lineup vs. Philadelphia on 4/1 was some type of cruel April Fool's joke. For the first time since 2/2 at New Orleans, Dallas had its top seven scorers (discounting Keith Van Horn) play together. When Dirk Nowitzki, Michael Finley, Jerry Stackhouse, Josh Howard, Jason Terry, Erick Dampier and Marquis Daniels all played together, Dallas was 14-4. The Mavericks owned a scoring differential of +8.1 (101.3 ppg to 93.2) when all seven played.
UH OH, HAPPY LEARNED HOW TO PUTT: Dallas was committed to improving its defense in the offseason and the Mavericks experienced some positive results from their work ethic. Dallas allowed 96.8 points per game on 43.8% shooting after giving up 100.8 ppg on 45.9% shooting in 2003-04. The Mavericks were 40-8 when holding their opponent under 100 points in 2004-05. Dallas ranked 14th in the league in scoring defense this season and eighth in opponents field goal percentage.
GETTING DEFENSIVE: Dallas held 18 opponents under 40.0% shooting from the floor (18-0 mark). All of 2003-04, the Mavericks only had nine games in which they held their opponent under 40.0% shooting and Dallas won all but one of those games (11/6/03 at Toronto). The Mavericks held the opposition under 90 points 23 times in 2004-05 (22-1 mark) after doing so just 12 times in 2003-04 (11-1 mark).
HORSE THIEVES: Dallas ranked fourth in the NBA in 2004-05 with an average of 8.63 steals per games and recorded 10+ steals 26 times this season (19-7 mark). Four Mavericks averaged over 1.20 steals a game this season (Josh Howard, 1.53; Marquis Daniels, 1.38; Jason Terry, 1.36; Dirk Nowitzki, 1.24). In 2003-2004, Nowitzki was the team leader with 1.19 steals per game.
GET A HAND UP!: In 2003-04, Maverick opponents shot 36.3% from downtown and Dallas ranked 25th in the league in opponent's 3-point percentage. This past season, Maverick opponents shot 33.0% from behind-the-arc and Dallas ranked first in the NBA in defending the three. On 4/7, the Spurs shot 0-of-12 from behind-the-arc, marking the third time in 2004-05 the Mavericks held an opponent without a 3-pointer. It also tied the opponent franchise low for most attempts without a make.
GETTING BOARD(s): Dallas was 33-3 when having more rebounds than it's opponent and 11-0 when having 10 or more boards. The Mavericks were 25-21 when having as many or fewer boards than its opponent. This past season, Dallas ranked eighth in the league in rebounding (42.9 rpg) but 24th in opponent's rebounding (43.2 rpg).
CATCH US IF YOU CAN: The Mavericks scored an NBA season-high (for a non-overtime game) 137 points vs. Washington on 1/18. They topped 110 points 24 times and were 22-2 in those games. In 2003-2004, when Dallas scored at least 110 points, they was 26-2. The Mavericks averaged 102.5 points per game on 45.7% shooting this past season. In 2003-04, Dallas averaged 105.2 points per game on 45.1% shooting. Dallas ranked third in the league in scoring and eighth in field goal percentage in 2004-05. The Mavericks were also 40-8 when scoring 100+ points.
HOT SHOTS: Dallas shot 50.0% or better in 22 games this past season and was undefeated in those games. In fact, the Mavericks have won 56 consecutive games when shooting 50.0% or better from the floor dating back to the tail end of the 2001-2002 season. The last time the Mavericks lost when shooting 50.0% from the floor was 3/28/02 at Minnesota. Since the start of the 2001-02 season, Dallas is 177-12 (.937) when shooting the same or a better percentage than its opponent and 50-89 (.360) when shooting a lower percentage.
SPREADING THE WEALTH: The Mavericks finished the season as one of two teams to have six or more players on their roster average double-figures in scoring (in games for that team only) AND to have at least one player average 20+ points. Dirk Nowitzki averaged 26.1 points, while Michael Finley (15.7), Jerry Stackhouse (14.9), Jason Terry (12.4), Josh Howard (12.6) and Keith Van Horn (12.2 with Dallas) all averaged double-digits in scoring. Sacramento accomplished the feat with Peja Stojakovic scoring over 20 a game, while Mike Bibby, Cuttino Mobley, Brad Miller, Kenny Thomas, Bobby Jackson and Corliss Williamson all averaged double-digits in scoring. However, that mix of players never played together due to injuries. The Pacers did have six players average 10+ points with a 20+ point scorer, but Ron Artest was suspended for the vast majority of the season.
HELP WANTED: With a team average of 19.6 assists per game, Dallas wasn't far from the lowest assist per game average of any team in franchise history (1998-1999: 18.4 apg). Dallas recorded a season-low eight assists at San Antonio on 11/24. In fact, the Mavericks came close to the franchise low for assists in a single game (six at New Jersey on 2/10/98). Since the start of the 2001-2002 season, Dallas is 157-17 (.902) when recording more or the same number of assists than its opponent and 70-84(.455) when recording fewer assists. The Mavericks were 18-0 this past season when recording 25+ assists. Dallas ranked 26th in the NBA in assists per game.
<ALMOST, BUT NOT QUITE: The Mavericks fell short in their attempt to lead the league in free throw percentage for a fourth straight season. Dallas ranked fourth in the NBA with a 78.9% free throw percentage and trailed first-place Minnesota by 0.7%. The Mavericks led the league in free throw shooting from 2001-2002 through 2003-2004 and finished second in 1999-2000 and 2000-2001. Over the past six seasons (1999-2000 through 2004-2005) Dallas has shot a combined 80.2% (9354-11,660 FTs) from the line.
STOCK IN TUMS MUST BE DOWN: When leading after three quarters of play this season, the Mavericks were 48-4 (losses vs. Phoenix on 2/26, at L.A. Lakers on 3/4, vs. L.A. Lakers on 3/10 and at Sacramento on 3/24). Dating back to the start of the 2000-2001 season, Dallas is 239-19 (92.6%) when leading after three quarters as opposed to a 41-111 mark (27.0%) when tied or trailing. The Mavericks had 10 wins when tied or trailing after three quarters (30 chances) after doing so just five times in 2003-04 (28 chances).
HAVE TO WEAR SHADES: The future looks bright for the Mavericks. On 2/18, second-year man Josh Howard and rookie Devin Harris competed in the 2005 "got milk? Rookie Challenge". In his second straight appearance in the event, Howard scored seven points while adding five rebounds and two steals. Harris started for the Rookies and finished with six assists and three steals. Dallas and Philadelphia were the only teams to have a participant in the All-Star game as well as having a player on the roster for both the Rookie and Sophomore squads.
DIRK FOR MVP: Dirk Nowitzki turned in an MVP-caliber performance in 2004-05 and finished third in the balloting. He averaged career-highs in scoring (26.2 ppg), assists (3.1 apg) and blocks (1.53 bpg) and was the only player to be ranked in the Top 10 in both scoring (fourth) and rebounding (tied for ninth with 9.7 rpg). Nowitzki was also one of four players (Shawn Marion, Kevin Garnett and Gerald Wallace) among qualifiers to average at least 1.20 steals and 1.20 blocks. In addition to being named Western Conference Player of the Month for both December and February, Nowitzki was named to his fourth consecutive All-Star game. Against Houston on 12/2, he scored 53 points in an overtime win. That marked an arena-high, a career-high and a franchise-high for most points in a single game.
FIN IN THE WATER: In games in which Michael Finley played and didn't leave early due to injury (he left after 20 minutes with a sprained right ankle in a loss at Orlando on 11/9), Dallas was 48-15. In games in which Finley didn't play or left early due to injury, Dallas was 10-9. Finley finished second on the team with 15.7 points per game and trails Derek Harper by 209 points for third place on the franchise scoring list.
CRAZY EIGHT: On 3/26 vs. Cleveland, Michael Finley shot 8-of-8 from 3-point range. Not only did he set a new career-high for most 3-pointers in a single game along with tying the franchise mark for most 3-pointers in a non-overtime game, he also smashed the old team record for most 3-pointers in a single game without a miss (5 by four players, including Jason Terry). Finley's 8-of-8 performance ties him for the second-most 3-pointers in a single game without a miss in NBA history. Finley hit his next two 3-point attempts before finally missing at Detroit on 3/28, giving him 10 straight without a miss, tying him with Brad Davis (1/23-2/3/88) for the longest streak in team history.
CENTERPIECE: In 59 games played, Erick Dampier averaged 9.2 points, 8.5 rebounds and 1.36 blocks in 27.3 minutes per game. Against Philadelphia on 1/29, Dampier scored 14 points to go along with an NBA season-high and a career-high 26 rebounds while adding a Maverick season-high 7 blocks. Dallas was 7-0 when he scored 15+ points, 11-5 when he recorded a double-double and 19-4 when he blocked two or more shots in a game this season. Had he played enough games to qualify, Dampier would have ranked fourth in the NBA in field goal percentage (55.0%), 20th in rebounding and 29th in blocks.
NO JOSHING YOU: Josh Howard notched 12 double-doubles in 2004-05 after recording just four in his rookie season. Howard also scored 20+ points 13 times this past season after not scoring above 19 points in his rookie season. On the season, he averaged 12.6 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.53 steals in 32.2 minutes per game. Howard ranked 15th in the NBA in steals and 35th in field goal percentage (47.5%).
6-9 WITH AN AFRO: Of league qualifiers in rebounding, Josh Howard was one of four players (Shawn Marion, Paul Pierce and Kenny Thomas) listed as 6-7 or shorter to average at least 6.4 rebounds per game in 2004-05. Howard ranked 38th in the NBA in rebounding.
THE SHOOTIST: Jason Terry shot 50.1% from the floor, 42.0% from 3-point range, and 84.4% from the free throw line. Of league qualifiers in field goal percentage, he was one of two players (Steve Nash) with more than 15 3-pointers made who shot better than 50.0% from the floor, 40.0% from 3-point range and 80.0% from the line. Terry had the third-highest field goal percentage of any guard in the league and ranked 22nd in the entire NBA. Terry also ranked 10th in 3-point percentage and tied for 32nd in free throw percentage. He was named Western Conference Player of the Week for games played January 17-23, becoming the ninth Maverick to earn that distinction.
JERRY'S NO KID: Nine-year veteran Jerry Stackhouse gave Dallas a spark off the bench. He led the Maverick reserves with 14.9 points per game while adding 3.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 28.9 minutes per game. He also averaged 5.3 free throw attempts per game and ranked 30th in the NBA in free throw percentage (84.9%). In non-starts, Stackhouse equaled or outscored the entire opponent's bench nine times. On 12/28 vs. Boston, Stackhouse sang the national anthem and received a standing ovation.
BRADLEY'S BLOCKS: On 2/24 vs. Sacramento, Shawn Bradley passed Manute Bol for 10th place on the NBA's all-time leaderboard for blocked shots. Bradley also ranks 11th on the all-time list in blocks per game with an average of 2.55.
BADGERING DEFENSE: Devin Harris, the fifth pick in the 2004 NBA Draft out of Wisconsin, proved he was already pretty good at stealing the ball. In the preseason, Harris led the NBA in total steals (22) and steals per game (3.14). In the regular season, he ranked second among all rookies with 1.01 steals per game and was second in the NBA in steals per 48 minutes with 3.15. Harris was named Western Conference Rookie of the Month for November, becoming the first Maverick to achieve that distinction since Jason Kidd in March of 1995.
COURT JUSTICE: On 12/3, Dallas appointed a new D.A. The Mavericks announced they acquired 10-year veteran Darrell Armstrong from New Orleans in exchange for guard Dan Dickau and a second round draft pick. Armstrong, who earned both the Most Improved Player and Sixth Man of the Year award in 1998-1999, appeared in 53 games for Dallas and averaged 2.3 points, 2.2 assists and 1.3 rebounds in 11.1 minutes per game.
VAN WILDER: On 2/24, the already potent Maverick offense got even deadlier with the addition of Keith Van Horn. Dallas traded Calvin Booth, Alan Henderson and cash considerations to Milwaukee for Van Horn. In 33 games with the Bucks, Van Horn averaged 10.4 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 24.8 minutes per game. In 29 games with Dallas, he averaged 12.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 23.6 minutes per game. Over the final 20 games of the season, Van Horn was the Mavericks second-leading scorer with 13.4 points per game.
HENDU REDO: On 3/1, Maverick fans breathed a sigh of relief when Dallas re-acquired one of their favorites, forward Alan Henderson. Henderson was the only Maverick to appear in the first 52 games of the season before he was packaged in the trade with Milwaukee for Keith Van Horn on 2/24. The Bucks released him the following day and after he cleared waivers, Henderson became a free-agent allowing him to sign with Dallas. This past season, he averaged 3.5 points and 4.5 rebounds in 15.4 minutes per game. Henderson also averaged 6.5 offensive rebounds per 48 minutes played which ranked him tied for second among league qualifiers.
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